Richmond Astronomical Society

November 2012 Meeting Minutes

Feb 11th, 2013 | By | Category: Meetings

Richmond Astronomical Society

758th Consecutive Meeting

November 13, 2012



Greetings – approximately 23 in attendance at the meeting.

Jim Browder called our meeting to order in the Eureka meeting room.


Announcements / Share Table

  • Betty and Ken Wilson are still chasing an eclipse.
  • Scientific Astrophotography: Local astronomer, accomplished astrophotographer and president of the Rappahannock Astronomical Society, Jerry Hubbell, has authored a book called,

“Scientific Astrophotography: How Amateurs Can Generate and Use Professional Imaging Data.”

The book can be pre-ordered from — it’s due to be shipped by the end of the month. The book has received a number of great reviews.

  • RAS dues are due.  See Jim Blowers.  Annual membership is $30.  $10 extra for Observatory members.  Subscriptions are $32.95 to Sky & Telescope, and $34 for Astronomy


Library Report

Virginia did not have a report, but sent word that all is OK at our library.


Events and Individual Observing

    Recent Events:

  • JohnR said he did some observing, and saw Pegasus, Uranus, Neptune, and possibly Comet Panstarrs
  • SMV skywatch (good turnout)
  • Woodlake (observed 30 double stars)
  • Brandermill, Scotchtown, Petersburg:  rained out, or no one showed up.
  • East Coast Star Party (small, but good crowd), attended by John and JimBr.
  • Staunton River Star Party (busy), is the new MASC,


Upcoming Events:

  • Help needed with skywatch on Wednesday, November 14!: A sixth grade science teacher at Caroline County Middle School contacted us about doing a skywatch for her school on November 14. The expected number of attendees is quite a bit higher than we originally anticipated. There are 100-1 50 visitors expected and we have two astronomers planning to attend. We could use some assistance with this one if anyone can help. The skywatch is scheduled for 6:30 PM on Wednesday (November 14). It will be in the bus parking lot behind the school and the overhead lights are expected to be extinguished for the event. The address of CarolineMiddle School is 13325 Devil’s Three Jump Rd., Milford, VA22514. We can arrive about 5:00 — 5:30 PM to set up. It takes about 45 minutes to get there from downtown Richmond (Google Map directions at If you can help, please let Jim Browder know right away at Thanks! (JimBr, BillJ, TerryB)
  • Someone needs to check out SkyMeadowsState Park
  • RAS Board of Directors Meeting, Monday, November 19, 7:00 PM: Quarterly RAS Board meeting at Extra Billy’s Restaurant on Broad Street. Reservations will be for 6:00 PM for those that want to eat dinner. 2012 and 2013 Board members should attend if possible.
  • MatoacaMiddle School, Tuesday, November 27, 5:00 — 7:00 PM: Skywatch at MatoacaMiddle School for the Science 7 classes. Rain date is November 29. Last year over 200 attended. Please e-mail Jim Browder at if you can help.  Joan is the contact. 
  • Richmond Gastronomical Society meeting, December 11, 7:30 PM: Please join us if you can. At this meeting we eat (and eat and eat…).  Prashant will coordinate.
  • Belmead on the James Skywatch, Saturday, December 15, 7:00 PM: Skywatch at Belmead on the James / Thomas Berry Educational Center, Powhatan. RAS will deploy astronomers and telescopes for the event and there will be an indoor introductory session prior to the observing session. This is an easily accessible dark sky location with plenty of parking adjacent to the observing site. Please contact Jim Browder at if you can help with this event. More info about Belmead and the ThomasBerryEducationalCenter is at
  • Powhatan County Library, December 17 or 18 (final date to be determined): The Powhatan County Library has asked that we host a skywatch for them on December 17 or 18 — final date to be announced later. Please e-mail Jim Browder at if you can help on either of these days.  What is the address?
  • Science Museum Skywatch, Friday, December 21, 6:30 PM: No Science Museum skywatch in November! The next skywatch at the Museum will be on December 21, which is the same day that the Mayan long count calendar ends. We might get a few questions about this at the December skywatch.



Election of 2013 Board of Directors, Jim Blowers

  • Jim briefly explained the duties of the RAS board of directors and announced the candidates for the 2013 board.  Nominations were taken from the floor, before voting was done.  Eleven (11) candidates were formally announced and were voted by acclamation. 
  • The new 2013 Board is the same as the 2012 board except Tim Streagle has been replaced by John Raymond.  The 10 returning members are: Jim Browder, David Medici, Jim Blowers, Chris McCann, Ken Wilson, Betty Wilson, Prashant Reddy, Bill Newman, Dave Walton, and Gary Cowardin.





Major Presentation:

“Space Program Update,” Ted Bethune

Ted has an extremely large library of photographs that he used to talk about the recent updates and news events in space programs around the world.  Some of those he showed us were:

  • An over the head photo of Baumgartner, 23 miles in altitude, just before he jumped and passed super-sonic speeds.
  • An unmanned Japanese spacecraft carrying food, water, and supplies to the ISS.  Also, a photo of it after it separated from the ISS.
  • An advertisement and mapping for the Venus Transit in 2117.
  • A photo of the North Korean small satellite launch, so far no successful orbital launches.
  • Sinzu9
  • Mars Rover Curiosity
  • An assortment of rocket and carriers at WallopsIsland facility (Taurus2, Cygnus, and Antares)
  • Photos of Neil Armstrong and Sally Ride, who both passed away recently.
  • An unmanned European spacecraft carrying food, water, and supplies to the ISS.
  • Another An unmanned Japanese spacecraft carrying food, water, and supplies to the ISS.  Also, Dragon, another unmanned spacecraft carrying food, water, and supplies to the ISS. 
  • A drawing of “New Horizons”, as it will pass Pluto and proceed out beyond the Kuiper Belt.
  • A photo of the Soyus spaceship, which is the rescue ship from the ISS, if there is an emergency.
  • A photo of astronaut Joseph Acaba, whom Fernando met a few months ago.
  • Pictures of the Apollo skip maneuver.




The next RAS meeting will be Tuesday, December 11th at the SMV.

The next board meeting will be next Monday, November 19th at Extra Billy’s at 7:00 PM (arrive earlier for dinner). Meeting is open to all members.


Check out the web site at

RAS Café Press store.  Please take a look at the online store where you can purchase items embossed with the RAS label. The site can be found at .

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